Local government launches subsidy scheme to boost millet outputOne rural municipality in Makwanpur has enforced a new rule to prepare millet dishes every Thursday to feed the school children under the mid-day meal programme.
Two rural municipalities in Makwanpur have launched an initiative to boost the production of traditional crops, especially millet, by providing subsidies.
Officials say that Makwanpur Gadhi Rural Municipality and Bhimphedi Rural Municipality have started the scheme from the current fiscal year.
These rural municipalities plan to market and brand the millet.
Many farmers used to cultivate millet for animal feed but now farmers say that they are getting a good value for millet.
Sukum Bahadur Ghalan of Kalikhola, Makwanpur Gadhi rural municipality-4, used to cultivate millet on 7 ropanis until two years ago. He has now decided to expand millet farming.
“Millet was difficult to get in the market. Now, we are assured that there will be no problem regarding the market,” said Ghalan.
Farmer Ambika Chaulagain has cultivated millet on 10 ropanis this year, increasing the area from 2 ropanis two years ago.
Not only Ghalan and Chaulagain, but most of the locals in different wards have resumed millet cultivation.
"The value of millet is good. There is no problem selling it. That’s why we have started expanding millet farms,” said Kusum Bahadur Ghalan, another farmer. “We used to plant millet for animal feed previously, but now we produce it as a key income source.”
Makwanpur Gadhi rural municipality has fixed the support price of millet at Rs45 per kg.
Dorje Lama, ward chairman of the rural municipality, said they are providing a subsidy on millet farming. According to him, the rural municipality provides Rs2 per kg as a subsidy to farmers while selling the millet to the local cooperatives.
The rural municipality is providing another Rs2 per kg to cooperatives for market management, he said.
"More and more farmers of Makwanpur Gadhi who had abandoned the crop are now attracted towards millet cultivation,” Lama said.
The federal government, too, has started providing subsidies to promote millet cultivation.
Last year, millet was cultivated on 250 hectares in Makwanpur Gadhi rural municipality.
Chandrakant Chaudhary, chief of the agriculture branch of the rural municipality, said that millet has been cultivated on 300 hectares this fiscal year.
Nearly 200 households are now involved in millet farming.
The rural municipality has branded their millet flour to introduce in the market.
Besides, in order to increase the consumption of millet, the rural municipality has made a new rule. As per the rule, every school should prepare millet dishes on Thursday every week under the mid-day meal programme.
Under the mid-day meal programme, various dishes such as millet doughnuts, halwa and others are being prepared and served to the school children.
Since last year, the rural municipality has been giving a subsidy of Rs900 per ropani to farmers who cultivate the barren land.
Last year, 41 ropanis of barren land were turned into farm land.
Mann Kumari Pakhrin, the vice-chairman of Makwanpur Gadhi rural municipality, said they are in the process of fixing the support price of millet and buckwheat for this fiscal year.
Bhimphedi rural municipality has started to provide a subsidy of Rs2,500 per ropani to farmers cultivating millet from the current fiscal year.
“The number of millet farmers has increased sharply after the launch of the subsidy,” said Hidam Lama, chairman of Bhimphedi rural municipality.
Millet has been planted on nearly 3,000 ropanis this year, from 1,000 ropanis last year, he added.
Keshav Rijal, chief of the agriculture branch at Bhimphedi rural municipality, said that farmers have been attracted towards millet cultivation after the rural municipality launched the subsidy scheme.
Bhimphedi rural municipality has allocated a budget of Rs2.5 million in the current fiscal year to promote millet cultivation.
“But the allocated budget is insufficient,” said Rijal.
The rural municipality is also preparing to market millet.